David Wright

The Mets Lost, They’re Not Collapsing

Look, I can write a big long post about all the Mets failures tonight from the all righty lineup to being shut out to losing 2 of 3 to the Marlins again.  I’m not going to do that.

It was a 6-0 loss. Just because you lose to the Marlins, it doesn’t mean it’s 2007 all over again. I know Mets fans were upset over Eric Campbell playing. The lefties need a day off. It’s the benefit of having a large lead. 

If you want to find something to be upset about, be upset about the regulars not contributing against a left-handed pitcher. The lineup still had David WrightYoenis CespedesTravis d’Arnaud, and Wilmer Flores [standing ovation]. The lineup accumulated three hits. Two from Wright and one from Michael Cuddyer. In the NLDS, the Mets will see better lefties than Adam Conley in Clayton Kershaw and Alex Wood

So yes, Bartolo Colon gave up two solo homeruns (and one other earned run) and Tyler Clippard gave up one homerun himself. The rest of the bullpen, Hansel Robles aside, was ineffective. All of this creates a loss, not a collapse. 

The Mets play quasi-meaningful games against the Yankees this weekend. If the Mets throw out some clunkers then, I’ll consider getting nervous. Right now, I’m just happy the Mets are getting the slumps out if the way against the Marlins in games that do not matter. 

This Loss Seemed Bigger than it Was

Let me start with the preface that the Mets are going to win the NL East, and they may still get homefield advantage in the NLDS against the Dodgers. However, doesn’t September losses to the Marlins just seem bigger?

It just seemed like this was another poor start for Jacob deGrom in what not too long ago seemed like a potential cyGrom season. Tonight, he gave up 10 hits and six earned in only five innings. deGrom is the key to a Mets possible World Series run, and it appears like he’s falling apart at the seams. I checked Twitter during the game, and I found out he really wasn’t:

However, I still felt like Chicken Little, so I checked Baseball Reference. Aha!  deGrom has been worse in the second half. He was a superhuman deGrominator going 9-6 with a 2.14 ERA, 0.924 WHIP, and 8.9 K/9 in the first half. Coming into tonight, he was 4-1 with a 2.89 ERA, 1.043 WHIP, and a 10.4 K/9 in the second half. So yeah, he’s been pretty much the same pitcher in both halves of the season. 

That’s the thing with losses like tonight. You tend to overreact. You make deGrom’s outing out to be worse than it was. You focus on another poor Eric O’Flaherty outing. You miss things like David Wright hitting an RBI double and going 1-2 with two walks, a run scored, and an RBI. You miss Michael Conforto going 2-3 with a walk, an RBI, and a run scored. You grumbled when Bobby Parnell came into the game while neglecting the fact that he had a good, scoreless inning. 

The Mets won eight straight. They were due for a clunker. That was tonight. It seemed like they could do nothing right, including but not limited to Erik Goeddel pulling a Shawn Estes when he seemingly was trying to plunk Tom Koehler as retaliation for him plunking Yoenis Cespedes. This was further compounded with my man, Dario Alvarez limping off the field after allowing a Dee Gordon homerun. 

The Mets just need to put this ugly 9-3 loss behind them. I know I’ll forget about it by tomorrow morning. 

Reading Between the Lines

The New York Times has an excellent piece today on Yoenis Cespedes. There were some things we learned or were reaffirmed:

  1. Cespedes desperately wants to win;
  2. Cespedes was the only OF available for the Mets on the eve of the trade deadline; and 
  3. It’s going to be very expensive to re-sign him. 

In reading the article, there are some things I personally interpreted. 

The Tigers Were Desperate 

The Tigers used Jim Leyland to take advantage of his relationship with Terry Collins to tell him Cespedes was available. I’m not an expert, but I presume trade negotiations are not normally done between a manager and a former manager. 

This was a way to put pressure on the Mets to go get Cespedes, a player with whom the Mets had reservations. Everyone on the planet knew the Mets offense was terrible. Collins must’ve been going crazy filling out a lineup card that included John Mayberry, Jr. in the cleanup spot. I’m sure when Collins found out the Mets could get Cespedes, I’m sure he ran through the Mets offices telling anyone who would listen to get the deal done. 

Again, the Mets were split. Maybe this Leyland-Collins conversation is what finally pushed the Mets to go out and get Cespedes. 

The Mets Have Soured on Juan Lagares

One of the key aspects of the decision to get Cespedes was whether or not he could play CF. This was after the Mets failed attempts to get Carlos Gomez. Remember in that deal, the Mets were pushing to trade the Brewers Juan Lagares and his contract. It’s apparent the Mets didn’t just want a bat; they wanted a CF. 

I’m shocked as the Mets were high on him as long as a year ago when they gave him the extension. Now it seems, they want to move on. That’s a huge fall out of favor for a gold glove CF. 

The Mets Only Saw Cespedes as a Rental

As noted in the article, the Mets knew about the five day clause in Cespedes’ contract. They knew it would be difficult to bring him back to the fold in 2016 and beyond. The article further notes that Alderson doesn’t typically give out contracts to players of Cespedes’ age because Alderson likes his teams to have payroll flexibility. Cespedes will more likely recieve than David Wright‘s $138 million. That really restricts the Mets payroll flexibility when they will have to eventually pay these young pitchers. 

This May Be a Test Case for Future deGrom Negotiations

As luck would have it, Cespedes shares the same agent as Jacob deGrom. Their agent, Roc Nation, and chief negotiator, Brodie Van Wagenen, are known to be tough and to be able to get the maximum value for their clients. The Mets dipped their toes on what it will be like when Robinson Cano was a free agent. The Mets came off as looking like they weren’t serious. 

Whether the Mets eventually re-sign Cespedes or not, they need to put their best foot forward here. It’s possible the Mets will be outbid while still making a real, viable attempt to keep him. Remember there’s always a crazy team out there. Just look at contacts given to Jayson Werth and Ryan Howard

The point here is to look like a serious team that can and will spend money. 

Sandy Alderson Wants to Win Now

There was every reason not to make this trade. Cespedes was not the type of player the Mets sought out under Alderson’s regime: he swings wildly and doesn’t walk enough. The fact that Michael Fulmer could turn out to be the Mets best pitching prospect, current Mets pitchers included. There was dissension within the Mets front office whether to proceed. 

Alderson saw an opportunity, and he went for it. Sure he took advice from his advisors, but he made the final call. It was gutsy and risky. Whether or not you agree with the trade, you have to respect how Alderson made the call. 

There are some other nuances that are there, but these are the main ones in my opinion. In any event, while I disagreed with the trade, I’m loving the Cespedes ride. I’m not so excited about how the offseason will shake out. I’m putting that out of my mind right now. 

I’m just enjoying the ride for now. Lets Go Mets!

Mets Win Even in Previews

One of the things I like to do is to go see a Broadway show during previews and right before Opening Night. By that time, many of the kinks are worked out, but the actors are still trying things to see if it works. Even better, the tickets are at a discount. 

Tonight was preview night at Citi Field. The Mets had BOGO tickets. Terry Collins tried some stuff out like batting Lucas Duda seventh against a righty. He started Michael Cuddyer in RF against the lefty over Curtis Granderson. He only let Logan Verrett go five innings in a game tied at one despite throwing under 70 pitches. 

Collins would bring in Sean Gilmartin in the sixth. Was this to see both potential long men, or was this a preview for a future Matt Harvey rumored half start. Gilmartin would show his rust giving up two runs to the Marlins. However, like the Broadway previews, the stars brought it and brought down the house. 

Yoenis Cespedes opened the scoring in the third with a bomb to left field. After the Mets fell behind, Travis d’Arnaud hit a game tying two run homer. Finally, the biggest star of them all, David Wright, hit the go-ahead ground rule double scoring the pinch running Eric Young, Jr. (who also stole a base). Jeurys Familia came on in the ninth and saved the 4-3 win. 

We can expect a lot more of this over the next month. These are the types of things you can and should do with a large division lead in September. Because the Mets are so good, they’re going to win a lot of those games. 

I can’t wait for when this show makes its October debut. 

I Don’t Know What to Make of Collins

Terry Collins came into this season as a lame duck manager. That can be poison going into a year. A lot of that was alleviated by the Mets 11game winning streak in April. Then the injuries came. 

On April 14thDavid Wright went on the DL with a hamstring, but we would later learn it could be much worse. On April 19thTravis d’Arnaud went to the DL with a right hand fracture. He would come off the DL on June 10th, and he would return to the DL on June 23rdJerry Blevins went on the DL with a broken forearm on the same day as d’Arnaud’s first DL stint. On June 5thDaniel Murphy went on the DL with a left quad injury. 

These injuries were on top of season ending injuries to Zack Wheeler and Josh Edgin. The Mets lost Jenrry Mejia first two injury on Opening Day and then to a steroids suspension. Rafael Montero was first an option in the bullpen and then the rotation. He went on the DL with a shoulder injury and would never pitch again. Dillon Gee was in and out of the rotation, and he went on the DL. Eventually, he went into the doghouse. 

There was also the issues of ineffectiveness. Lucas Duda started out hot, and then got really, really cold. He had trouble carrying the offense. It’s no wonder his back went outKirk Nieuwenhuis was terrible, and he was traded to the Angels. When Nieuwenhuis flopped with the Angels, the Mets and their dreadful offense took him back. Of course, Michael Cuddyer had a typical first year with the Mets. 

Through all of this, Collins kept it together. It was a miracle. The Mets should not have been in position to make trades. They were in a small part because the Nationals didn’t run away with it. A larger part was Collins holding it together. Then when he finally had a real MLB roster, his abilities as a tactician into question. 

He started making questionable choices, and he cost his team some games. Then the season defining series against the Nationals. Collins said he was treating it like a playoff series. He made a number of moves. He was brilliant. However, it leaves me to question which is the true Terry Collins. Is he the man that is better at getting the most out of a team?  Is he a guy that can jeopardize a game with questionable moves?  Is he the guy that can pull it together to make all the right moves when a series is in the line?

Is he all these things?  I don’t know.  Part of the reason why is this is Collins first real pennant race as the team to beat. Another reason is he’s never had a team this good. Finally, he’s never been in the playoffs. He’s going to get his chance now. 

It’s funny that with no new contract, this could be Collins first and last chance at a World Series. I hope he gets it. Not just because I’m a Mets fan, but because he’s a good man. He’s spent his life in baseball, and he has earned his chance. 

I just hope when the time comes we see the Collins that managed against the Nationals. 

NOTE: hat tip to @koosman2pointOh for his suggestion on this post. 

Win Was Rest Assured

Like his past few starts, this game was all about Bartolo Colon clobbering the NL East. He’s now 13-1 against the NL East with a 2.52. He had a 31 inning scoreless streak that surpassed Warren Spahn‘s record for most consecutive shut out innings for a 42 year old. It was also fell 1.2 innings short of R. A. Dickey‘s club record. 

Colon even asserted his dominance at the plate. After Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe scored on a Kevin Plawecki 4th inning RBI double, Colon would single him home. Colin’s dominance and scoreless streak would end in the seventh when he allowed two runs. With two outs, he was lifted for Dario Alvarez, who did his job as a LOOGY, and got the lefty Nick Markakis out. 

Hansel Robles was out attending to family matters. Tyler Clippard and Jeurys Familia were given the day off due to their usage in the Washington series. As such, Alvarez came back out for the eighth, and he pitched a 1-2-3 inning, which included getting Freddie Freeman out. It was a great job by him. 

It looked like Addison Reed was going to get the save opportunity until Uribe hit a two run double in the ninth. Reed still came on and secuted the 7-2 win. 

Colon’s battery mate, Plawecki, also had a good game. He went 1-3 with a double, a walk, and three RBIs, including an insurance run in the eighth. Overall, playing backups like Uribe, Johnson, and Plawecki allowed the Mets to rest Travis d’ArnaudDaniel Murphy and his quad, and David Wright and his back. 

That’s the benefit of building a big lead. You get to rest some guys who need rest. When you’re really good, you win those games, even when Yoenis Cespedes finally has an 0-fer. You win these games even with a two and a half hour rain delay and a flooded dugout:

Before moving along to the next game, our best wishes to Dan Warthen, who was not at the game because he had to go to the hospital with heart problems. I hope he gets better, and he comes back to enjoy this ride. 

I Stumped Gary

I love trivia, especially baseball trivia. I was the first solo winner on “Beer Money.”  Hat tip to the “light hitting Mike Bordick.”  My father and I had a failed attempt to be on Beat the Booth. As a result, each and every week, I submit a #StumpGary question. 

The question on the TV didn’t exactly match my question:

The one on TV expanded my question to include David Wright, who technically is a Supplemental Pick for the loss of Mike Hampton. It’s a technicality, but it’s SNY’s network and broadcast. I have no problem with them changing the question. 

Here’s how it went:

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I also laughed when Gary was dismissive of the question because draft picks wasn’t his thing. The question was glossed over more than the usual question. I was still happy to see my Twitter handle on the screen. 

So, I’m proud to say I stumped Gary. Maybe next year, I can be on Beat the Booth. 

Who’s In, Who’s Out?

After last night’s big homerun, I wanted to write a post about Kirk Nieuwenhuis‘ chances of making the postseason roster. I then realized such conversation is premature without first discussing who is definitely going to be on the roster, and what the roster needs will be. 

Please note this list assumes all injured players will be healed and ready for the playoffs. And yes, I’m taking Matt Harvey at his word. So without further ado, here’s my best approximation:

Position Players

  1. Travis d’Arnaud
  2. Kevin Plawecki
  3. Lucas Duda
  4. Wilmer Flores
  5. Daniel Murphy
  6. Ruben Tejada
  7. Juan Uribe
  8. David Wright
  9. Kelly Johnson
  10. Yoenis Cespedes
  11. Michael Cuddyer
  12. Curtis Granderson
  13. Juan Lagares
  14. Michael Conforto

Pitchers

  1. Matt Harvey
  2. Jacob deGrom
  3. Bartolo Colon
  4. Noah Syndergaard
  5. Jeurys Familia
  6. Tyler Clippard
  7. Addison Reed
  8. Hansel Robles

While typically an MLB team carries 12 pitchers, that number is usually reduced to 11 relievers. That means there’s three spots open for pitchers like Sean GilmartinDario AlvarezCarlos Torres (if healthy), Erik GoeddelLogan VerrettJon Niese, and of course Steven Matz. Notice, I did not put Bobby Parnell and Eric O’Flaherty on the list. If all the position players make the list, there’s only room for 11 pitchers anyway. 

With an injury, like Cuddyer’s, the decision will come down between Nieuwenhuis, Eric Young, Jr., and yes, Eric Campbell

The Mets have tough decisions to make. They have about a month of tryouts. So far, Gilmartin, Alvarez, and Nieuwenhuis have made their cases. Other players have their opportunities as well. It’s nice having this conversation instead of talking about next year. 

Mets Deep Six the Nationals

It was like the Saturday press conference.  Matt Harvey was there by himself, all alone. He seemed unprepared and less sure of himself. He bungled everything from the start. In the process, he managed to anger the Mets fans. 

The Nationals jumped on Harvey early scoring two in the first and one in the second to take a 3-1 lead. Like he was Sunday, David Wright was there for him hitting a second inning solo homer. Other than that, no one supported him . . . including himself. 

Terry Collins let him leadoff the sixth with the team down two runs. It’s hard to argue with Harvey cruising and the bullpen usage yesterday. The Mets then wasted a gift triple to Curtis Granderson. Then the bottom of the sixth happened. 

The first two got on, and then Harvey bobbled a bunt loading the bases with no out. Harvey got a strikeout, then Michael Taylor stepped up to the plate. He then hit a Little League Grand Slam. It was a hard hit ball so a limited SS like Wilmer Flores [standing ovation] couldn’t make a play on it.  Then Cespedes charged the ball hard, but he olayed it allowing Taylor to go round the bases and give the Nationals a 7-1 lead. Apparently, the Nationals official scorer is a disgruntled Mets fan so it was ruled all seven runs were earned. 

The Mets woke up in the seventh and showed the Nationals who was the better, more resilient team. Down 7-1, the Mets went to work. They loaded the bases and Granderson got an RBI walk, and then Cespedes redeemed himself by hitting a bases clearing double to bring the Mets within 7-6. Upon reloading the bases, Lucas Duda got an RBI walk tying the game at 7-7. 

In the eighth, forgotten man Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit a pinch hit go-ahead homerun. Tyler Clippard did his job in the bottom of the inning. 

In the ninth, Jeurys Famila let up a leadoff single. He was helped out by Duda who made a nice play getting the lead runner out on a terrible Anthony Rendon bunt. Familia walked Bryce Harper, who is seemingly 0 for 2015 against the Mets. It would set up a huge 5-4-3 double play to end the game, and perhaps the NL East race. 

It took awhile, but the Mets picked up Harvey and themselves. This Mets team is resilient and looks like they’ve locked it up. Let’s now get Harvey ready for October. 

Post script: I stumped Gary 

  

The Trade We Seem to Forget

The Yoenis Cespedes trade was everything Mets fans could’ve dreamed of and more. The man has been a walking, talking highlight film. Tyler Clippard has locked down the eighth inning. Even though the price the Mets paid for these two players was high, these players have produced well enough that this isn’t the story. 

You know what isn’t a story anymore?  Sandy Alderson’s trade that brought the Mets Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe. Neither one has been spectacular since coming to the Mets. Uribe has gone .200/.288/.410. Johnson has gone .245/.297/.426. However, they’ve had their moments. Yesterday, Johnson hit a homerun to put the Mets up 2-0. On his first day, Uribe got a game winning hit in extra innings. Uribe may not be hitting much, but the hits he has are huge. 

Also, Uribe has been a great clubhouse presence. He keeps things light. He keeps things upbeat. That’s important when the Mets have had some bad beats.  This team gets themselves off the mat. I’m sure Uribe has played a large part in that. 

It’s also important to note with David Wright back and a healthy Daniel Murphy and Lucas Duda, they’re bench players. Good, veteran bench players that gives Terry Collins a lot of options. This is a huge upgrade over the Danny Muno‘s of the world. 

Johnson and Uribe have both been been in the playoffs, and Uribe has won a World Series. Their acquisition was the first step towards winning a World Series. However far the Mets go, they will be a big part of it.